The ocean is home to many mysteries, and many creatures that seem more like the stuff of science fiction than marine biology. Is it any wonder then, that the internet is filled with videos of people fishing unknown critters out of the deep and proclaiming that they’ve found themselves actual aliens? The man in this video has no idea what he’s got in his hands.
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In this video, a man holds a small, glassy, gelatinous creature, hardly bigger than his thumbnail, squeezing it until its insectoid head pops out of the barrel in which it rests.
This animal is known as a phronima sedentaria, an unusual crustacean that forms a parasitic relationship with the gelatinous, barrel-shaped salp in which it resides. With its sharp pincers, it hollows out the salp and climbs inside, using the buoyant species to float along in the water, and also as a “nursery” for its young, which live inside the barrel as well. Male phronima sedentarias also use this barrel home, despite not having babies to put inside of them, though it is not known is they perform another purpose for the males, such as protection or to impress potential mates. Scientists have had a difficult time studying this creature, because they do not live long after being removed from the ocean.
Although this species is entirely of Earth origin, its unusual, glassy appearance is certainly striking. Additionally, its bizarre life cycle is not unlike the xenomorphs of the Alien films, proving once again that all the best monsters already exist.